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The new funding will be available to help adoptive families across the country settle their children into their new home.
The Adoption Support Fund - to be rolled out nationwide from May 2015 after extremely successful pilots across 10 councils - helps pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it.
Many adopted children have experienced difficult and traumatic experiences before being placed with their forever family, which can prevent them from settling into their new home and can create difficulties at particular stages such as adolescence.
Services such as behavioural therapy, play and music therapy, and family support sessions can help children come to terms with their difficulties - giving them the confidence to build strong relationships with their new family.
Minister for Children and Families Edward Timpson, who grew up with 2 adopted brothers, said:
I know as much as anyone that children adopted from care have often lived through terrible experiences which do not just simply disappear overnight once they have settled with their new families.
The new Adoption Support Fund will be a vital lifeline for many adoptive families, helping them to access specialist support services when their family needs them most.
I also hope today’s news reassures all adoptive families, from those who have been adopting for years to those just at the beginning of the journey, that if challenges do arise they will not be left on their own to muddle through - support will be there every step of the way.
Following successful pilots across the country, the fund will be used to support adopted children and young people up until and including the age of 18. Support from the fund will be available after the adoption court order and can be used to purchase services from the private and voluntary sector, as well as councils and Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The government will fully fund the Adoption Support Fund in the first year, whilst committing in the long term to the pot being jointly funded by councils and government.
Hugh Thornbery, CEO of Adoption UK and Chair of the Adoption Support Fund Expert Advisory Group, said:
Adoption UK welcomes the minister’s announcement of the rollout of the Adoption Support Fund from 1 May 2015.
We are pleased that the government has risen to the challenge and we are now in a position where we better understand and can meet the challenges faced by adoptive families. Because of their early childhood experiences, many adopted children may have additional needs. The role adoptive parents play in re-parenting these vulnerable children is massively important.
Robust plans and new money are now in place to ensure that all adoptive families get the therapeutic services they need, when they need them.
The Adoption Support Fund is part of a wider package of reforms introduced by the government through the Children and Families Act, including a faster approval process so the majority of people are approved within 6 months and new rules so prospective adopters and children are placed on the adoption register within 3 months. These reforms have resulted in a record high in adoptions over the last 12 months.
The government has also:
- extended entitlements so that children in care going straight through to adoption have access to priority school admissions, the pupil premiums and - from September 2014 - are eligible for free early education for 2-year-olds
- published the adoption passport setting out the rights and entitlements of adoptive parents, and new online maps allowing potential adopters to find out more about services in their area
- set up First4Adoption, a dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England
Notes to editor
- The government will be paying for all of the Adoption Support Fund in the first year, more than £19 million, whilst committing in the long term to this being jointly funded by local authorities and central government.
- The 10 local authorities that piloted the fund included:
- North Yorkshire
- Leicester City
- East Sussex
- For more information on the Adoption Support Fund please visit First4Adoption.
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